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Qatar Visitor

Qatar Visitor
Qatar Visitor provides comprehensive information on Qatar for tourists and residents, as well as vibrant photographs, podcasts, YouTube videos, news commentary and information about major events in Qatar.
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Articles

Dangerous Wildlife in Abrouq Reserve
2008-01-02 13:39:00
In the Gulf Times today Gillespie writes about the recent attack on a Qatar Natural History Group member by an irate ostrich at the Abrouq Reserve . (See Ostrich Attack Survivor Says ?Lucky to be Alive?.)Simon Flynn, the British resident who was researching a route for one of the QNHG?s rambles, was lucky to be alive, as the tiny brained birds have been known to kill not just people but also large and dangerous predators such as lions.With a speed of up to 70 kph, if you do get in trouble with an ostrich running away is not an option. Instead, you should sit down on the ground, cover your heads with your arms and wait until the bird either moves away or help comes.Fortunately, help did come for Simon Flynn in the form of the keeper at the film set in Abrouq. The keeper drove off the bird with a stick, although not before Simon had been repeatedly kicked and pecked.Following the attack, it is now recommended that residents keep away from the Ras Abrouq Nature Reserve. If you do visit,...
More About: Middle East , Wildlife , Doha
QNHG meeting
2007-12-31 11:55:00
The Qatar Natural History Group will be holding its first meeting of the year at 7.30 pm at the Doha English Speaking School on Wednesday 2nd January. The meeting will feature a speech by author, explorer and President of Rivers of the World, Ben Mathews, about his work in remote river basins.Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East
More About: What , Meeting
Tennis
2007-12-27 21:35:00
The Qatar ExxonMobil Open will be starting on the 31st December and running to the 5th January at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha . Once again some of the top names in tennis are competing, including the two finalists from last year - Andy Murray and Ivan Lubjic. You can see this video of the final play between the two on our website. Also see: Qatar Tennis Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East tennis
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Spotlight on Qatar Internet Censorship
2007-12-24 13:58:00
The purpose of internet censorship is presumably to distract attention from certain issues. If so, Qatar censorship is currently failing miserably with a certain small and rather cute pig.The issue arose with pictures in a Winnie the Pooh book. The images of poor piglet had been blocked out with a black marker. Images of the book were posted on Qatar Living several months ago.The offending books were being sold in Saudi-owned Jareer book store, and it was widely assumed that the books had been censored in Saudi Arabia en-route to Qatar. The pictures aroused some rather light hearted banter, but few believed that moderate Qatar was the source of the censorship.The matter had been forgotten. At least, until a few days ago, when Qtel decided to censor the images of the censorship of the images.This was despite the fact that the page did not fall into any of Qtel's official censored sites' categories: "pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries and anti-Islamic sites?.Far ...
More About: Middle East , Internet , Censorship , Doha
The Al Wabra Reserve
2007-12-21 08:44:00
In one place in the Qatar desert it is possible to walk among trees and over a flowing stream, watch brightly coloured birds of paradise flit about and listen to bright yellow Golden Conules chattering away to you.It?s not a mirage brought on by thirst but the superb wildlife reserve of Al Wabra.Founded as a hobby farm, under its present owner, Sheikh Al Saud, and his team of European vets, the reserve has been transformed into a world renowned centre for the conservation of endangered animals.With a collection of over a thousand animals and seven hundreds birds, all of them with different dietary requirements which are provided as far as possible by the farm itself, the reserve is a huge undertaking, requiring a staff of nearly two hundred.Despite this, the reserve goes far beyond just keeping animals. The reserve has had success breeding animals which have never before reproduced before in captivity, and is without a doubt the only thing preventing several species from going extin...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Reserve , Serve
Arafat and National Day
2007-12-18 17:11:00
Today is both Arafat day and Qatar's National day.The name Arafat is taken from the mountain of Arafat in Saudi Arabia. It's an important day for Muslims, as this is the day when Mohammed gave his farewell sermon the last year of his life.Many Muslims in Qatar will be fasting, although unlike Ramadan the fasting is recommended rather than obligatory.Muslim on the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, will spend the whole day on the plan of Arafat, praying for God's forgiveness.Meanwhile, Qatar is celebrating, for the first time, its national day, which celebrates the accession of Sheikh Abdullah Jassim Al Thani in 1878.Sheikh Jassim's father was still alive when he handed over power to his son, although he wasn't very happy when his son invited the Ottoman's into the country. However, Sheikh Jassim made up for it later by defeating the Ottoman's in battle. (See the Rise of the Qatar Ruling Family for more details.)Tomorrow is another even more important day, for it is the start of...
More About: Middle East , Culture , Doha , National Day
Qatar Beaches: Al Khor
2007-12-17 11:14:00
Drive to Al Khor, make your way along main street towards the sea and follow the road round to the left and you'll come to Al Khor's Corniche. Unlike Doha , below the Corniche is a sandy beach, dotted with play areas and a mock ship for children to play on and shaded areas provided for barbecuing.The play areas could be in better nick, and the thatch on the beach shades are wearing a little thin, but in our opinion this is still one of the better beaches in Qatar . Unlike many other beaches, the sand seems relatively free of glass, and on Friday the beach is busy with residents playing football and volleyball or having a barbeque.The promenade also makes for a pleasant walk, and has plenty of flowers to admire - Al Khor is proud of its gardens. Walk to the far end and you'll come to a small area of mangoves - great for the children to play in, and to see the small fish and crabs that inhabit the mangroves.Also see:Qatar beaches: newsAt the beach: Qatar styleSwimming in the sea in Q...
More About: Middle East , Beach , Beaches
Vodafone wins mobile phone licence
2007-12-11 08:17:00
The Gulf Times announced today that the bid to win Qatar's second mobile licence has gone to Vodafone .Qatar Telecoms perssonel expressed surprise at the result, as GCC companies usually bid more aggressively than European countries.The product manager of Qatar Telecoms suggested that the decision to choose Vodafone could have been influenced by the government "to get some more economic dynamism in the market with a European country."This was in contradiction to what the regulator said i.e. simply that Vodafone had submitted the highest bid.Unfortunately, Qtel will still remain the sole provider of fixed line services.Also see: Qtel and TelephonesQatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East vodafone
More About: Mobile , Phone , Mobile Phone
Working Women and Discrimination in Qatar
2007-12-11 07:05:00
Do women face sexism and discrimination in Qatar ?I've recently been working on a new page for the website, Working Women in Qatar, and while I was doing it I decided to ask a few women if they felt they were at a disadvantage here.The first lady I asked, who was Filipinno, worked as a secretary in a workshop in the Industrial area, and didn't feel she had received any discrimination based on sex.Next I spoke to a business woman. Interestingly, she felt that while she had felt some sexism, it had all come from either Western expatriates ("who have been here too long") or from shop workers. Her feelings were echoed by a British teacher I spoke too, although she added that it was nothing she couldn't deal with.I also spoke to an American-Arab. She felt that a much bigger problem than sexism was discrimination on the basis of nationality. Hence, with her American passport she would receive a much higher wage than an Arab or Indian with the same experience and qualifications doing th...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Discrimination
Things Qatar Needs
2007-12-07 15:08:00
Life in Qatar : What Qatar needs but doesn?t have...I usually write about what Qatar has, so for a change I thought about what Qatar doesn?t have. It?s not quite as full a list as it would have been when I first came here (Virgin has come, with a decent range of books, as have apple computers, a decent forum (Qatar Living) and a decent online newspaper (Qatar Journal)) but Doha is still far behind many other international cities.1. An ice-cream parlor. On the Corniche, with decent ice-cream (not the rubbish they sell at the cafe near the Sheraton), air-conditioning (of course) and comfortable seats with views overlooking the bay.2. A theatre. And I mean a theatre where productions are actually put on, not the National Theatre where nothing ever seems to happen.3. An opera house. Not that I like opera personally, but if Doha is ever going to become a respected international city it needs an opera house.4. A decent supermarket. Carrefour is just not as good as a British supermarket. (W...
More About: Middle East , Things , Needs
Qatar Seas
2007-12-04 22:38:00
Image by Robert BaldwinIn the latest article on the Qatar Visitor website, Qatar Seas , Francis Gillespie looks at Qatar's marine life, including the fish, mammals and reptiles that inhabit the seas around Qatar. The article is accompanied by superb underwater photography by Robert Baldwin.Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East Marine life
Qatar haircut
2007-12-04 08:58:00
I?ve always found getting my hair cut in Qatar a bit problematic.Essentially, there seems to be a choice of getting your hair cut in a luxury hotel or in one of the street shops.In the street barbers, whatever you ask for, you generally seem to get a short back and sides. This is also often accompanied with a massage. I may be backward, or homophobic, but I have never felt quite comfortable with receiving a massage from another man.I did go to a young Lebanese hairdresser for a while. He was superb, giving me a decent modern haircut with no fuss. Unfortunately, he had a row with the owner of the shop and left the country in a huff.I have also tried the Intercontinental. Although on the expensive side, they gave me and a friend a decent cut. However, the two barbers looked so unfriendly we felt no desire to return.However, my search has now come to an end with the discovery of Patrice Salon in Villagio.This little shop is hidden down the side of Carrefour, in the corridor parallel wi...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Haircut
Qatar Camel Farm
2007-12-01 09:45:00
If you are from England, a farm may be a place with green fields, white sheep and pretty black and white cows. However, Qatar ?s first camel farm will be radically different from this.The camel farm is to be established in one of Qatar?s most arid areas, and will be powered though solar and wind power ? and possible also from camel dung.One of the aims of the farm is to prevent or reverse the process of desertification. Ironically, the cause of the desertification is overgrazing by camels. However, the key word here is overgrazing ? camels in the right number form a key part of the eco-system by both fertilizing and pollinating the desert.Having a camel farm makes a lot of sense ? in fact, in Australia it makes so much sense that there are fifty of them, although tourism makes up a fair proportion of their income.Unlike the Middle East 's pampered cows, the indigenous camel does not require air-conditioning. Furthermore, camel milk contains three times as much vitamin c as cow?s milk...
More About: Doha , Camel , Farm
Cost of Living in Qatar: Inflation, Rent and Pay Rises
2007-11-29 16:29:00
Inflation has increased again in Qatar, largely due to rents which rose by nearly 30% in the period July - August, according to the Gulf Times yesterday.Inflation has also been helped by the declining dollars, and these latest figures could help speed the demise of the doomed dollar peg.Worryingly, the figures are higher than for neighbouring countries such as the UAE, which face many of the same problems.Meanwhile, one expert has estimated that rental prices will continue to rise for another two years, after which supply should finally meet demand.The message is clear for potential residents - make sure accommodation is included in your contract!However, it's not all doom and gloom, according to rumour mongers, at least for public sector workers. The whisper is that Qatar will be following Dubai with a massive pay increase.Dubai recently raised the pay for government workers by 70%. There is a lot of competition in the job market between Dubai and Doha, and rumours have been circ...
More About: Middle East , Living , Money , Inflation , Cost
Qatar Farm
2007-11-29 14:43:00
I took this picture on a trip to Al Thaqab fort, located close to Al Zubarah fort. The fort itself is disappointing - it is simply a Hollywood construction which involved bulldozing the old remains before the new ones were built. (To add insult to injury the remains were bulldozed before any excavation could take place.)The farm which can be viewed from the fort is more interesting. The owner, who is interested in self sufficiency, runs electricity from solar panels on the roof of his farm. He also provides water for his crops and livestock from a deep well that has been known to have been used since at least 1911.Things to See and Do in Qatar Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)TagsQatar Doha Middle East farm
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The Horned Viper: A Close Encounter
2007-11-23 10:49:00
Photograph by Paula HoeppnerPost by Frances GillespieMembers of the Qatar Natural History Group on a tour of the north-western forts one Friday in late October encountered a small Horned Viper which emerged from beneath the wall of Al Rakiyat fort.One British family had just sat down beside the wall to have a picnic when the snake was spotted adopting an aggressive stance, i.e. coiled up ready to strike, within a couple of feet of their eight-year-old son.He quickly scrambled to his feet and no harm was done, but it was a timely reminder that although the chances of being bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion in Qatar are very rare, nevertheless it is a possibility.The Horned ViperThe Horned Viper [cerastes cerastes gasperetti] is also known as a Sand Viper. It does not always have horns above the eyes -- the specimen mentioned above had none.It may well be the only truly poisonous snake in Qatar, and is far less dangerous than its relative the Saw-scaled Viper which is found in...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Close
Powerboat Racing
2007-11-21 20:48:00
This week will see the start of the fifth round of F1 powerboat racing taking place along Doha ?s corniche. This is not to be confused with the offshore powerboat racing which took place last week!The Qatar round will see not one but two main races being held. Although you will be able to see the boats on the water from the 22nd November, the actual races will be held on the 24th and 27th November at 2.30 pm.For more information see the official site F1 Powerboat Racing . You can also view the Dangerous when Wet documentary below:Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East Powerboat Racing
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Qatar Dugongs to be tracked by helicopter
2007-11-21 12:28:00
-Qatar has the second largest population of dugongs in the world, but little is known of these secretive creatures that often avoid the ocean?s shallows.Dugongs feed on sea grass at the bottom of the sea. The creatures are slow moving, and a recent study in California found that they avoid their natural predators, sharks, by staying in deep water.Now these rare creatures, which may be in danger of extinction, are to be tracked by military cameras mounted on helicopters in part of a initiative by SCENR, Dolphin Energy and the Qatar Air force, according to the Gulf Times.If you want to know more about Qatar?s marine life, watch out for the second of Francis Gillespie?s article on Qatar Nature, which will be published next month and will include pictures of dugong. The first article, An Introduction to Qatar?s Natural History, can be seen on the Natural History section of our website.Note - image taken from Wikipedia's page on Dugongs.Also see Qatar Sea SlugsQatar Visitor e-store (U.S...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Helicopter
Qatar jobs
2007-11-21 08:07:00
In what must be good news for expatriates seeking jobs in the Middle East , Qatar is facing a shortage of professional staff in a number of fields, according to a story in The Peninsula today.The fields include engineering, banking, finance, medicine and accountancy.Part of the problem may be due to the rising cost of living and the falling value of the riyal. However one recruitment consultant, Maria Brown, said that as a result companies were offering increasingly competitive packages.Demand, though high in all fields, was particularly strong in the banking sector.Those accepting jobs may get an unexpected benefit in the coming months. It is looking increasingly likely that the Qatar riyals - as well as other local currencies - will be devalued. If so, the value of any savings or remittances will increase. But I'll leave it to all those bankers to work out exactly how much extra they will benefit!Browse jobs in Qatar and the GulfTagsQatar Doha Middle East jobs
More About: Jobs
The Elusive Al-Wajbah Fort
2007-11-19 20:53:00
There's several posts on Al Wajbah forts on the internet, but no images, so I was keen to visit and photograph the place.Al Wajbah is of significant historical interest. It was the base of Sheikh Bin Jassim , and from the wadi below Al Wajbah, Sheikh Bin Jassim gathered the Qatar tribes people, ready to attack and defeat the Ottomans in a battle that for many would mark the start of the Qatari nation. (See The Rise of the Qatar Ruling Family for more information.)Al Wajbah was built in the nineteenth century, and is probably the oldest standing fort left in Qatar, although there are much older ruins in the country. The fort has sturdy walls with a tower at each corner, and slits through which arrows or bullets could be fired.Rain water gathers below, and leads to a rare oasis. (Another example can be found on the Zekreet peninsula.)Unfortunately, my visit was cut short before I even left the house. Ringing a friend for advice, I was informed that access to both Al Wajbah fort has n...
More About: Middle East , Doha , Fort
Aramex Shop and Ship : How to order goods to Qatar from Amazon
2007-11-17 19:43:00
As Christmas approaches, many of us will be wondering how to get presents over from the UK and USA. Not only does Amazon refuse to shop many goods abroad, when you can ship them there is the awful Q-post service to deal with. I?ve had to wait months for some packages, while others have never arrived.Fortunately, there is an alternative, which is Aramex, a service which allows you to shop on-line to your hearts content in both the UK and US.What is Aramex? Aramex is a courier service which offers a shop and ship service to the Middle East .First you have to set up an account with Aramex. They will then email you with log in details for their website, as well as an address in both the UK and the USA.When you shop on-line, you have your goods shipped to your address. Then Aramex will ship the goods to the Middle East.Shipping pricesPrices are extremely reasonable. It costs 130 riyals (35 dollars) to set up an account with Aramax. After that goods are shipped at a cost of 32 riyals (9 do...
More About: Goods , Shop , Qatar
Qatar International Bookfair
2007-11-16 10:56:00
The 18th International book fair will be held in Qatar at the Qatar International Exhibition Centre from November 28th until December 8th. Ring (+974) 4429955 or email qanal@qatar.net.qa for details.Also see: Qatar Book ReviewsBooks , Book stores and Libraries in QatarQatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)TagsQatar Doha Middle East books
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Is the end of the dollar peg in sight?
2007-11-14 21:48:00
The UAE announced today that it was at a crossroads with regard to the Dirham's dollar peg. The announcement followed a remark by the Qatar i prime minister that the dollar was hurting the Qatari economy, which in turn followed decisions by the Gulf countries not to shadow American interest rates.It is also coupled with recent warnings by Meryll Lynch that the peg would be difficult to sustain.It seems increasingly likely that the riyal will be unshackled from the dollar. If another GCC country leaves the dollar peg (Kuwait has already abandoned it) there will be little point in others continuing. What's more, it is unlikely that these statements would have been made if the countries were serious about maintaining the dollar peg.If these countries do abandon the greenback there will be a sigh of relief from many expatriate workers.Expatriates have, in recent months, seen the value of their wages hit by inflation. This inflation has been at least partly caused by the rising cost of ...
More About: Middle East , Dollar , Doha , Sight
Holiday Bazaar
2007-11-13 21:36:00
The American Woman's Association will be holding their annual holiday bazaar at the Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday November 17th. Entrance costs QR10, and goods for sale include decorations for the festive season. The bazaar will start at 10 am and go on till 6 pm, although it is probably advisable to get their earlier rather than later - if only to get parking!Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East What 's on
More About: Holiday , Bazaar
The Real Inspector Hound
2007-11-12 21:14:00
The play "The Real Inspector Hound" by Tom Stoppard will take place from Thursday 22nd November to Saturday 24th November at 7pm at Doha Sailing Club. Tickets will include Qar100 for members and QAR110 for non-members and includes a buffet meal. To purchase a ticket call 4474911 or 5755102: tickets can be bought over the phone with a credit card.Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East play
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The Laughter Factory
2007-11-11 20:58:00
The Laughter Factory is returning to Doha this month, with comedians Jim Tavare, Nick Wilty and Paul Chowdry playing in the Ramada on 18th and 19th of November. The shows will start at nine pm on Sunday and at eight pm on Saturday. For more details ring the Ramada on +974 4417417 or visit the Laughter Factory Website.Qatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East What 's on
Qatar Beaches: News
2007-11-11 10:57:00
The Qatar Government has plans to set up exclusive family beaches in Qatar, the Gulf Times announced today.Even better, SCENR, the Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves, has plans to curtail the use of plastic bags in the country.The statements were made on the sidelines of a beach clean-up in Al Khor. Hopefully, SCENR will extend this clean-up to other beaches in Qatar: a trip to any popular public beach will see bare-footed children playing in sand littered with glass.Unfortunately, SCENR didn't protect the mangrove swamps in Al Wakra. I was shocked during a recent visit to see that the mangroves swamps had been uprooted and replaced by a pool of water.The mangroves weren't just a picturesque addition to an otherwise fairly unremarkable town. Just a small area of mangroves can produce thousands of tonnes of biomass. These feed into the food chain, and the loss of these mangroves is likely to lead to a decrease in fish stocks.It will also prove a disaster for local...
More About: News , Middle East , Beaches , Doha
Al Qaeda, Rudy Giuliani and Qatar
2007-11-10 13:55:00
It?s not the purpose of this blog to talk about politics. However, there have recently been some outrageous press comments made about Qatar . These started after it emerged Rudy Gulliano has a security contract with the Qatar petroleum, protecting a gas processing facility, and I couldn't resist the urge to comment.This really has been some ridiculous press: Rudy Giuliani 's Al Qaeda Connection? screams Radar Online, while the All Spin Zone maintains that "old Rudy Guiliani has huge connections to Al Qaeda" and that he "claims to fight terrorism while cozying up to the terrorists".The accusations of connections to Al Qaeda are based on events that took place in 1996, six years before the start of Rudy Giulani's contact with Qatar Petroleum. An Al Qaeda terrorist was hiding out in Qatar, and it is alleged that a sympathiser based in the government gave the terrorist the nod before he could be arrested.The unsubstantiated allegations may or may not be true, although Qatar strongly de...
More About: Middle East
Journalism School to Open in Doha
2007-11-08 21:17:00
As Doha is home to Al Jazeera, it is perhaps not surprising that they have head hunted a top American journalism school to join other foreign universities in their state of the art Education City.North Western?s Medill School of Journalism , which is based in Illinois, is likely to start taking students next Autumn. It is likely, if they follow the example of other universities here, that entrance requirements will be high.What is particularly surprising, at least according to this article in the Sun Times, is that North Western believes it may even attract students from Israel.While Qatar does maintain low key relations with Israel, it is likely that many residents and citizens, as well as neighbours such as Saudi Arabia (which does not even allow people who have visited Israel to enter their country) will be outraged.Whether there is controversy or not ? and Qatar is used to controversy with Al Jazeera, which has generally managed to annoy just about everyone except the hand that ...
More About: Middle East , Open
Doha Powerboats: The Qatar Grand Prix
2007-11-08 20:32:00
The sixth round of the 2007 World Powerboat Racing Championships will take place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of November. It'll be an exciting race for Qatar , with two teams involved, of which one - Qatar 96, driven by Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani - is currently ranked second. For more information see the official website class-1.comQatar Visitor e-store (U.S.)Qatar Visitor E-store (U.K.)Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha Middle East
More About: What , Grand
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